Canon Ixus 230 HS review

Ben Pitt
11 Oct 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

With superb photos and videos, fast performance, an 8x zoom and a stylish ultra-compact design, this little camera is pretty much perfect



1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 8.0x zoom (28-224mm equivalent), 140g

Canon's Ixus range of stylish cameras has been firing on all cylinders this year, and it has really hit its stride with the 230 HS.

Expert Reviews is proud to bring you this Canon Ixus 230 HS review from Short Sharp Reviews - click through to YouTube for a 1080p HD version

A svelte, luxurious design in a choice of six colours is to be expected, and its gently contoured metal shell (measuring 22mm at its thickest point) slips easily into small pockets. We didn't expect to find an 8x zoom lens in such a slim camera, though. The 28-224mm range doesn't match the 24mm wide-angle capability of the Canon Ixus 220 HS but its telephoto reach is far greater. That's enough to take a close-up portrait from across the room, or capture a distant subject with almost four times the resolution of the Ixus 220 HS's 24-120mm lens.

Canon Ixus 230 HS

Canon seems to be struggling to make the best use of the limited space on the back of its Ixus cameras. This time it has plumped for a spacious 3in screen with a sharp 461,000-pixel resolution, but rather than squeeze all the buttons in beside it, the menu button and mode switch have been nudged around to the right end of the camera. It's an unorthodox approach that we didn't immediately warm to, but it quickly became second nature to use. As with the Ixus 220 HS, the buttons sit flush with the camera body so those with big thumbs might struggle with the navigation pad. Otherwise, though, the buttons and Canon's tried-and-tested menu system provide quick access to key settings, and there's a strong collection of scene presets and digital effects on top of the more conventional photographic controls.

Canon Ixus 230 HS rear

Autofocus speed is good rather than great, leading to a 2.1-second wait between switching on and taking a photo, and 2.2 seconds between subsequent shots. Continuous mode is excellent, though, at 2.5fps in our controlled test and 3.6fps in brighter conditions. With a fast SDHC card, it kept this performance going until the card was full.

The video mode's 1080p resolution, AVC codec and high 33Mbit/s bit rate deliver crisp details that don't break up in fast-moving scenes. The only drawback is that clips are limited to 10 minutes, so you might still need a dedicated camcorder in some situations. The elapsed time is shown but a countdown to show the remaining time would be more useful. Autofocus was a little slow to update while recording and the focus and zoom motors were picked up by the microphone in quiet scenes, but it's preferable to cameras that can't update their autofocus and zoom at all while recording.